Review: Dance of the Red Death – Bethany Griffin

Review: Dance of the Red Death – Bethany GriffinDance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #2
Published by Greenwillow Books
Published: June 11th 2013
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four-half-stars

Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death. Lauren DeStefano, author of the New York Times bestselling Chemical Gardens trilogy, called Masque of the Red Death "luscious, sultry, and lingeringly tragic."

In Dance of the Red Death, Araby's world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she will fight for herself, for the people she loves, and for her city. Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball. It could destroy her and everyone she loves . . . or it could turn her into a hero.

With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death saga about a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I had trouble with this one in the beginning. Not because it was a bad book or because I wasn’t interested. It was purely because I couldn’t remember what the heck happened in the first part of the series because I read it so long ago! I couldn’t for the life of me remember what happened in Masque of the Red Death and what I loved about it. But as Dance of the Red Death continued and the memories started to return I remembered my love of Will and Araby and the world Griffin created and I found the book fantastic. It was really a great ending to a very creative series. I apologize for any spoilers from the first book but it is hard to talk about a sequel without them.

Dance of the Red Death begins right where Masque ended. Araby, Will, Elliott, April, and company have fled the city that is being demolished by disease, the people, the Reverend and the Prince and are traveling to places unknown. They just know they need to get away and need to hide. April is sick and Araby’s heart has been shattered by Will’s betrayal. With Elliott’s constant advances, April’s fast-declining health and the prospect that her father is the cause of everything Araby has to make some tough decisions that bring her right to the city she is trying to flee and the two men that are trying to destroy her.  Now Araby has to decide what it is she wants to fight for and what her heart can handle in the end.

I actually enjoyed Dance more then I liked Masque. I found Araby to be a stronger more compelling character in this book. She had a backbone and wasn’t as scared to live. Was she still scared of her emotions and the circumstances of her life? Definitely. But I felt like she matured in a way that allowed her to deal with them as opposed to whining about everything. She knew what she had to do to save herself, to save her friends, to save the city she loves and although she struggled at times, she did what she had to do.  She was very likable in this book and that is what made the story more enjoyable. That and her “relationship” with Will.

Not gonna lie, he broke my heart in the first book with his betrayal, but I also understood why he did what he did. And I liked that Araby understood it too. The awkwardness between the two in this book because of that one incident was perfectly incorporated into the story. With that said, the emotions that were between them were also extremely present and I could feel Will’s jealousy every time he saw Araby anywhere near Elliott and that was all kinds of awesome. They had to have had one of the most real relationships in the book by far and it added to the story opposed to taking away from everything that was going on around them.

Basically, I found the distribution of the relationship aspects and the war that was going on in the cities laid out pretty evenly. Dance wasn’t too heavy on either aspect and everything flowed nicely thanks to Griffin’s talent of weaving a great story. I was really happy with how everything came to a head and even happier with the conclusion. Really great ending to a brief two-part series. I look forward to reading more from this very talented author in the future.

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